Kids Commute - Summer Listening! Week 2

Jun 25, 2018

Erich Kunzel conducts the Cincinnati Pops in this week's music, "The 1812 Overture," by Tchaikovsky.
Credit Original album cover

Hope you’re having a great summer vacation, Kids Commuters! It’s Week Two of IPR’s Kids Commute Summer Listening Program! Each week for five weeks, we’ll bring you a special extended episode of Kids Commute. As always, there’s a Quizlet at the end of the program. Answer the question and receive our Week Three prize!

This week, we focus on the 1812 Overture, one of Tchaikovsky’s best known compositions. You might recognize it as, “the one with the cannons that goes BOOM!”

Be sure to read our whole post for 1812 - we've got lots of informative goodies for you after the jump!

Don't forget to answer our Quizlet to receive your Week Two listening prize!

Kids Commute Summer Listening Week Two
MUSIC: 1812 Overture
COMPOSER: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
CONDUCTOR/ORCHESTRA: Erich Kunzel/Cincinnati Pops

Here's this week's Kids Commute:


Did you know that Tchaikovsky used musical themes from several different folk songs and compositions to tell the story of Russia’s victory over France in the war of 1812? Kids Commute breaks down the overture and identifies each one for you so it’s easy for you to hear it within the composition.

Spasi, Gospodi, Iyudi Tvoya - “O Lord, Save Thy People”

Lord, Save your people
And bless your inheritance;
Give victory to our Orthodox Emperor Nicholas Pavlovich
Over adversaries,
And your protecting cross
To your habitation.

Hear the Slavyanka Men's Chorus sing this popular Russian Orthodox Church hymn in this clip:

French National Anthem, “La Marseillaise”

Arise, children of the fatherland!
The day of glory has arrived.

Listen to the full version, with lyrics and translation, here:

"U Vorot, vorot" - "At the Gate" - an old Russian prisoners' folk song

The locks of which gates will unlock?
Which unoiled hinges will creak?
They will return me freedom following someone's capricious will,
I'll remember this moment forever

This recording from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings features Sergei Iakovlevich Lemeshev and the Osipov Balalaika Orchestra:

“Bozhe Tsarya Khrani!” - “God save the Czar!” - Russian national anthem (1833-1917)

God Protect the Tsar, He who holds power;
Reign for glory, for our glory.
Reign to the terror of our enemies,
Orthodox Tsar!
God Protect the Tsar!

Here’s the anthem celebrating the Russian Tsars sung by the Valaam Ensemble a capella, or "without accompaniment."

Other Tchaikovsky music featured in this week's program:

Symphony No. 1, Movement III (Scherzo)

The Nutcracker, Final Waltz and Apotheosis

And, just for fun, here are The Swingle Singers, with their own unique take on 1812. Sing along!